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Air Reconnaissance of North Britain

  • J. K. St. Joseph

Extract

The purpose of this paper is to review discoveries made by air reconnaissance during the five summers 1945-9 in the Roman military districts of Northern Britain. Most of the sites described were revealed by differences in the colour or growth of vegetation above them, and during this period the exceptional drought of 1949 gave unusually clear definition, covering much of the material now under review. The cereal crops in particular responded so sensitively to buried features as to reveal not merely the outline of buildings, but finer details such as buttresses to a wall, or floors in stone or concrete. Even in pasture, the Military Way behind Hadrian's Wall could be seen for miles together as a ribbon of parched grass (pl. v); and, most remarkable of all, the foundation-trenches of timber buildings in the legionary fortress at Inchtuthill appeared as thin green lines in the parched surface (pl. viii, 2). Such conditions occur rarely; but even in a wet summer carefully planned air reconnaissance will afford plenty of information.

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1 A temporary camp (770 by 625 ft.) north of the Antonine Wall at Balmuildy, and another (2,050 by 1,350 ft.) at Forteviot, Perthshire, discovered in 1951 are also marked on the map. Mr. R. W. Feachem kindly told me of the camp at Forteviot.

2 For Oakwood, , see JRS XL, 95; for Bishopton, ibid. XL, 93 and below, p. 120; for Broomholm, see below, p. 122.

3 Petch, ‘Roman Durham,’ Arch. Aeliana 4, 1, 6.

4 Proc. Soc. Ant. Scot., xxxv, 25 ff. for plans.

5 Inventory of Hist. Mom. in Westmorland (RCHM), pp. XL, 169.

6 ibid., pp. XL, 144 ff.

7 ibid., pp. XLI, 54.

8 Cumb. and West. Ant. and Arch. Soc. Trans. (CW), ns. XIII, 177.

9 CW2 XXXI, III ff.

10 CW2 XX, 143 ff., and XXVIII, 103 ff.

11 CW2 XIII, 131 ff.

12 CW2 XXXII, 116 ff., and XLV, 148 ff.

13 CW2 XXXIV, 50 ff.

14 For sites on Hadrian's Wall see J. C. Bruce, Handbook to the Roman Wall, 10th ed. (1947), by I. A. Richmond, with bibliography. To avoid overcrowding of symbols temporary camps near the Wall between Carrawburgh and Birdoswald have been omitted from the map, Pl. IX.

15 CW2 XXXVI, 76.

16 CW2 XV, 135; XXXVI, 85 ff.

17 JRS XXXVII, 167.

18 Northumb. Co. Hist. XV, 88 ff.

19 JRS XXXVII, 166; Proc. Soc. Ant. Scot., LXXXIII, 170.

20 JRS XL, 95.

21 ibid. XXXVIII, 83.

22 Proc. Soc. Ant, Scot., LXIV, 321.

23 JRS XXVIII, 171; XXX, 159; see below, p. 120.

24 Military Antiquities (1793), pl. XXIV; JRS XXX, 160.

25 Proc. Soc. Ant. Scot., LXXII, 286–290, 345; JRS XXVIII, 171 f.

26 JRS XXIX, 200.

27 ibid., XXXVII, 166 f.; XXXVIII, 83; XXXIX, 98; XL, 94 f., and below, p. 122.

28 ibid., XXXIX, 98; the early forts are there numbered (2) and (3), the early Antonine fortlet, (8). See also below, p. 123, fig. 15 (plan).

29 Northumb. Co. Hist. XV, 117.

30 JRS XXX, 160.

31 ibid. XXX, 162; XXXIX, 98.

32 ibid. XXXVII, 166 f.; Trans. Dumfr, Gall. Ant. Soc. XXIV, 156–8.

33 JRS XXIX, 201 f.

34 PBSR XIII, 12; CW XXXIV, 62 ff.

35 JRS XXXVIII, 81.

36 JRS XXXVII, 166; Proc. Soc. Ant. Scot. LXXXIII, 167.

37 For sites on the Antonine Wall, see Macdonald, G., The Roman Wall in Scotland, 2nd ed. (1934).

38 JRS XL, 1950, 94, fig. 14.

39 Proc. Soc. Ant. Scot. XXXV, 329 ff.

40 Antiquity XXV, 95.

41 Proc. Soc. Ant. Scot. XXXII, 399 ff.

42 Roy, Military Antiquities (1793), pl. XXXII. For sites north of the Antonine Wall, see in general O. G. S. Crawford, The Topography of Roman Scotland (1949).

43 o.c. p. 65, fig. 13.

44 Crawford, o.c. 58 ff.

45 JRS IX, 113 ff; XXX, 159.

46 Crawford, o.c. 76; JRS XXXIII, 49.

47 ibid., XXXIX, 97 f., XL, 92.

48 ibid., XXXIII, 47, pl. III; Roy, Military Antiquities (1793), pl. XI.

49 Proc. Soc. Ant. Scot. LXXIII, 110.

50 Crawford, o.c. 88.

51 ibid., o.c., 90.

52 ibid., o.c., 94.

53 ibid., o.c., 101.

54 Forfarshire (1845), 679; hence Crawford, o.c. 90.

55 Crawford, o.c. 110 f., fig. 29.

56 ibid., o.c., p. 114.

57 Proc. Soc. Ant. Scot., VII, 387.

58 F. Haverfield, Roman Britain in 1913 (Brit. Acad. Suppl. Papers, II), 7, fig. 1; Proc. Soc. Ant. Scot. L, 348.

Air Reconnaissance of North Britain

  • J. K. St. Joseph

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